An Ashley County man will continue serving a 10-year sentence he began serving last year after he was convicted of rape.
The Arkansas Court of Appeals announced the decision on Wednesday, April 14, in the case of Carlton Levon Brown’s appeal.
Brown had argued that the trial court had insufficient evidence to convict him of rape. An Ashley County Circuit Court jury had convicted him of rape and third degree battery in a trial that Judge Sam Pope presided over.
Brown’s attorney, Gary Potts, had argued to the appellate court that the district court should have granted a motion for directed verdict, which would have ended the case, because he contended insufficient evidence was present to prove the “forcible compulsion” element of the crime of rape. The Court of Appeals disagreed.
The case began when Brown encountered the victim and asked if she would like to drink a beer.
The victim said she got in Brown’s car and was unable to leave the vehicle because the door latch was broken, and Brown refused to let her out, demanding sex instead. The victim testified that Brown raped her as she fought back.
As the conflict continued, the victim got her hands on a pistol Brown had, forcing him to flee the victim.
The victim went to a house across the street, but the person inside refused to help her, the opinion notes. She then went home and contacted the Crossett Police Department.
Crossett Police Officer Teresa Tolliver interviewed the victim at the hospital and documented her injuries which included scratches, knots around her eyes, bruises and multiple bite marks.
The officer also reported that she had found leggings, underwear, a wig, a purse and men’s pants and shoes as well as an empty gun case and bloodstains inside and outside the car where the incident had taken place.
Brown said that he asked the victim where his phone and computer were and dragged her out of the car. He denied having sex with her or biting her. He later changed his story to indicate that sex had been consensual, but they began fighting when he noticed his items were missing.
After the state presented its case, the defense moved for a directed verdict. After Pope denied the motion, Brown took the stand at trial and testified that the two agreed to have sex for money.
The Court of Appeals opinion indicated the jury clearly believed the victim’s testimony that Brown raped her, and her testimony was also corroborated by the photographic evidence of both her injuries and Browns injuries, which substantiated her claims that they fought violently in the car.
Judge Phillip Whiteaker wrote the majority opinion with agreement from Judges Bart Virden and Robert J. Gladwin.
Brown, now 50, began serving his term in the East Arkansas Regional Unit at Brickeys in August 2020. He is projected to be eligible for parole in October 2026.